Cell Phone Addiction and Apps Activities among Chinese Medical Students: Prevalence and Risk Factors

Main Article Content

Qian Yi
Zhang Luwen
Zheng Xiao
Wang Hui
Zhou Yuting
Sun Jinhai


medical students, mobile phone addiction, APP, affect factors



To investigate the prevalence of cell phone addiction and the association with apps use and preference among medical students in China to offer suggestions for phone addiction prevention and management.


A total of 3058 medical undergraduate students from six medical universities/colleges located in five provinces of China were randomly sampled and interviewed. An adapted “Questionnaire of Mobile APP” from “Manolis/Roberts Cell-Phone Addiction Scale” was used to conduct the interview. Chi-squared (χ2) test and binary logistic regression analysis were used for data analysis. A database was built with EpiData 3.1, and statistical analysis was conducted using SPSS 23.0.


Cell phone addiction was reported by 16.25% of medial undergraduates. Univariate analysis found statistical difference among addictive students with different genders, hukou status, monthly cell phone bills and in-love status. The following were reported as the risk factors for mobile addiction among medical students by logistic regression analysis: medical students who were female (odds ratio [OR]=1.704, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.386, 2.095), were from urban (OR=1.307, 95% CI=1.046, 1.634), had boyfriend or girlfriend (OR=1.333, 95% CI=1.080, 1.646), used reading apps (OR=1.254, 95% CI=1.015, 1.549), were using reading apps (OR=1.254, 95% CI=1.015, 1.549), and were using chat apps (OR=2.222 , 95% CI=1.146, 4.310).

Medical students who are female, from urban, in-love, or frequent users of reading and chat apps may face a higher risk of cell phone addiction. Therefore, gender-specific and app type-specific interventions should be developed to intervene college students’ cell phone addiction.


Download data is not yet available.
Abstract 156 | PDF Downloads 22 HTML Downloads 2 XML Downloads 0


1. Liu Y. Continue to promote the sustainable development of the new era association by focusing on innovation and service upgrading report on the third standing council of the third session of China radio association(excerpt) [J]. China Radio 2019(01):26–31.
2. Goswami V, Singh DR. Impact of mobile phone addiction on adolescent’s life: a literature review. Int J Home Sci 2016;2(1):69–74.
3. Brown RIF. Some contributions of the study of gambling to the study of other addictions. In: Eadington WR, Cornelius JA, editors. Gambling behavior and problem gambling. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press; 1993. p. 341–72.
4. Holden C. “Behavioral” addictions: do they exist? 2001. 294:980–982. https://doi.org/ 10.1126/science.294.5544.980
5. Fisher S. Identifying video game addiction in children and adolescents. Addict Behav 1994;19: 545–53. https://doi.org/10.1016/0306-4603(94) 90010-8
6. Clark M, Calleja K. Shopping addiction: a preliminary investigation among Maltese university students. Addict Res Theory 2008;16(6):633–49. https://doi.org/10.1080/ 16066350801890050
7. Young KS. Psychology of computer use: XL. Addictive use of the Internet: a case that breaks the stereotype. Psychol Rep 1996;79:899–902. https://doi.org/10.2466/pr0.1996.79.3.899
8. Beard KW. Internet addiction: a review of current assessment techniques and potential assessment questions. Cyberpsychol Behav 2005;8:7. https:// doi.org/10.1089/cpb.2005.8.7
9. Echeburua E, Labrador FJ, Becoña E. Adicción a las nuevas tecnologías en jóvenes y adolescentes. Madrid: Pirámide.
10. Lane W, Manner C. The impact of personality traits on smartphone ownership and use. Int J Bus Soc Sci 2011;2:22–8.
11. Lin YH, Lin YC, Lee YH, et al. Time distortion associated with smartphone addiction: identifying smartphone addiction via a mobile application (App). J Psychiatr Res 2015;65:139–45. https:// doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2015.04.003
12. De-Sola Gutiérrez J, Rodríguez de Fonseca F, Rubio G. Cell-phone addiction: a review. Front Psychiatry 2016;7:175. https://doi.org/10.3389/ fpsyt.2016.00175
13. Madrid. Mobile phones becoming a major addiction. The Sidney Morning Herald, 10. 2003.
14. Shambare R, Rugimbana R, Zhowa T. Are mobile phones the 21st century addiction? Afr J Bus Manage 2012;6(2):573–7. https://doi.org/10.5897/ AJBM11.1940
15. Hooper V, Zhou Y. Addictive, dependent, compulsive? A study of mobile phone usage. At 20th Bled eConference eMergence: Merging and Emerging Technologies, Processes, and Institutions. BLED 2007 Proceedings, 38. 2007.
16. Billieux J, Van Der Linden M, Rochat L. The role of impulsivity in actual and problematic use of  the mobile phone. Appl Cogn Psychol 2008;22:1195. https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.1429
17. Backer-Grondahl A, Sagberg F. Driving and telephoning: relative accident risk when using hand-held and hands-free mobile phones. Saf Sci 2011;49:324. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2010.09.009
18. Roberts JA, Petnji Yaya LH, Manolis CH. The invisible addiction: cell-phone activities and addiction among male and female college students. J Behav Addict 2014;3(4):254–65. https:// doi.org/10.1556/JBA.3.2014.015
19. Al-Barashdi HS, Bouazza A, Jabur NH. Smartphone addiction among university undergraduates: a literature review. J Sci Res Rep 2015;4(3):210–25. https:// doi.org/10.9734/JSRR/2015/12245
20. James D, Drenn J. Exploring addictive consumption of mobile phone. J Adolesc 2005;27(1): 87–96.
21. Ha J, Chin B, Park DH, et al. Characteristics of excessive cellular phone use in Korean adolescents. Cyber Psychol Behav 2008;11(6):783–4. https://doi.org/10.1089/cpb.2008.0096
22. Leena K, Tomi L, Arja R. Intensity of mobile phone use and health compromising behaviors: how is information and communication technology connected to health-related life style in adolescence? J Adolesc 2005;28(1):35–41. https:// doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2004.05.004
23. Sansone RA, Sansone LA. Cell phones: the psychosocial risks. Innov Clin Neurosci 2013;10:33–7.
24. Mak YW, Wu CST, Hui DWS, et al. Association between screen viewing duration and sleep dura-tion, sleep quality, and excessive daytime sleepiness among adolescents in Hong Kong. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2014;11(11):11201–19. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph111111201
25. National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China. Health Statistics Yearbook 2018. Beijing: Peking Union Medical College Press; 2018.
26. López-Fernández O, Honrubia-Serrano L, Freixa-Blanxart M, et al. Prevalence of problematic mobile phone use in British adolescents. Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw 2014;17(2):91. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2012.0260
27. Smetaniuk P. A preliminary investigation into the prevalence and prediction of problematic cell phone use. J Behav Addict 2014;3(1):41–53. https://doi.org/10.1556/JBA.3.2014.004
28. Li L, Niu ZM, Mei SL, et al. Relationship between smartphone addiction, impulsivity and mental health among medical students. Modern Prev Med 2016;43(03):482–5.
29. Mok JY, Choi SW, Kim DJ, et al. Latent class analysis on internet and smartphone addiction in college students. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat 2014;10:817. https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT. S59293
30. Rose S, Dhandayudham A. Towards an understanding of Internet-based problem shopping behaviour: the concept of online shopping addiction and its proposed predictors. 2014:83–89. https://doi.org/10.1556/JBA.3.2014.003
31. Wang YM, Wang YY. A survey of gender differences in Internet addiction among college students and the purpose of Internet access. Journal of Heilongjiang College of Education 2015;34(09):107–8. https://doi. org/10.3969/j.issn.1001-7836.2015.09.046
32. Lu SY, Zhou WY, Jin HL, et al. Mobile phone dependence of medical college students and its influencing factors [J]. Chin Sch Doctor 2013;27(02):89–92.
33. Zhou SQ, Luo SR, Li ZM, et al. Study on mobile phone usage and its influencing factors among medical university students in Nanning. Chin J Health Stat 2017;2:4.
34. Gupta N, Garg S, Arora K. Pattern of mobile phone usage and its effects on psychological health, sleep, and academic performance in students of a medical university. Natl J Physiol Pharm Pharmacol 2016;6(2):132. https://doi. org/10.5455/njppp.2016.6.0311201599
35. Yen, Cheng-Fang, et al. Symptoms of problematic cellular phone use, functional impairment and its association with depression among adolescents in Southern Taiwan. J Adolesc 2009;32(4):863–73. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.10.006
36. Tosell C, Kortum P, Shepard C, Rahmati A, Zhong L. Exploring smartphone addiction: insights from long-term telemetric behavioral measures. Int J Interact Mob Technol 2015;9:37. https://doi.org/10.3991/ijim.v9i2.4300
37. Du SQ. Investigation and analysis of the current situation of college students’ e-book reading [Internet]. China Press 2013;10:109–10. https://doi.org/ 10.13854/j.cnki.cni.2013.20.051
38. China Internet Network Information Center. The 37th statistical report on internet development in China. 2016. [cited 2016 Jan 22] Available from: http://www.cnnic.cn/hlwfzyj/hlwxzbg/hlwt-jbg/201601/t20160122_53271.htm
39. Zhou B. Symptoms and challenges of reading addiction in Internet novels. Contemp J Lit 2017;01:155–9. https://doi.org/10.19290/j.cnki.51-1076/i.2017.01.032
40. Cull BW. Reading revolutions: online digital text and implications for reading in academe. First Monday 2011;16(6). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v16i6.3340
41. Mcconatha D, Praul M, Lynch MJ. Mobile learning in higher education: an empirical assessment of a new educational tool. TOJET 2008;7(3):15–21.
42. Zhang LR, Zhu TM, Zhang CC. A review on mobile phone addiction among college students. Chin J Health Educ 2018;34(1):59–61, 89. https:// doi.org/10.16168/j.cnki.issn.1002-9982.2018. 01.014
43. Zhang ZS, Li FH. An investigation on the status quo of university students’ internet addiction. Teach Educ Res 2011;23(2):44–8.
44. Du JH, Yang X and Nie GH. The relationship between self-identity and mobile addiction in medical producers. Chin School Health 2016; 37(08):1250–2. https://doi.org/10.16835/j.cnki. 1000-9817.2016.08.043.s